Do You Need To Seal Backsplash Grout?

Backsplash grout plays an important role in protecting the walls behind kitchen counters, sinks, and other wet areas. Sealing grout can provide additional protection against moisture and stains. This comprehensive guide will examine if you need to seal backsplash grout, the benefits of doing so, what types of sealers to use, and step-by-step instructions for proper application.

What is Grout and Why Seal It?

Grout is a cement-based material used to fill the joints between tiles on walls, floors, and countertops. Grout comes in different colors and textures to complement the look of the tiles.

The purpose of grout is to:

  • Seal the joints between tiles to prevent moisture from seeping underneath
  • Allow for slight movement between tiles without cracking
  • Provide an attractive, finished look by neatly filling the spaces

Over time, the grout between tiles can become porous and stained. Exposure to moisture causes the grout to absorb liquids, leading to bacteria growth and discoloration. Sealing the grout creates a protective barrier that prevents this absorption.

Key benefits of sealing backsplash grout include:

  • Preventing stains from cooking oils, spices, and liquids that can seep into unsealed grout
  • Resisting mold and mildew growth by blocking moisture absorption
  • Easier cleaning as spills and grease cannot penetrate the grout
  • Enhancing appearance by keeping grout looking new for longer
  • Extending lifespan by protecting grout from deterioration

Sealing is recommended for any backsplash area, especially behind sinks, stoves, and countertops where the grout is exposed to lots of moisture and stains.

What Type of Sealer is Best?

There are different types of sealers available for grout. Choosing the right formulation will ensure optimal protection and performance.

Silicone Sealers

Silicone-based sealers penetrate into the grout and form water-repellent barriers within the pores. Silicones provide excellent stain resistance and repel oil, grease, and water. They last 1-5 years before needing reapplication.


  • Strong repellency of liquids
  • Resist stains from oil and grease
  • Allow grout to still “breathe”


  • Shorter lifespan than epoxy
  • Can change grout color slightly

Epoxy Sealers

Epoxy sealers contain resins that form a plastic-like coating over the entire grout joint. This creates a highly effective moisture barrier. Epoxy protectants can last 5-10 years.


  • Very effective moisture barrier
  • Excellent stain resistance
  • Long-lasting protection


  • Can discolor or add gloss to grout
  • Grout cannot “breathe” underneath

Acrylic Sealers

Acrylics penetrate grout with microscopic polymer particles. They repel water, oil, and stains. Acrylics provide 2-5 years of protection.


  • Easy water-based application
  • Minimal change to grout appearance
  • Affordable option


  • Less effective than epoxy or silicone
  • Shorter lifespan than other sealers

For most backsplashes, a silicone-based sealer offers the best combination of affordability, performance, and ease of application.

What Type of Backsplash Grout Needs Sealing?

All types of grout will benefit from sealing for added protection. However, porous grout especially needs sealing to prevent deep penetration of moisture and stains.

  • Cement-based sanded grout is very porous and prone to staining, so sealing is highly recommended.
  • Unsanded grout also absorbs liquids readily without sealing.
  • Epoxy grout resists staining on its own but sealing will extend its water resistance.
  • Urethane grout is less porous than cement but sealing provides added benefits.

Even grout advertised as “stain-proof” can absorb some moisture over time, so applying a sealer is useful. Any backsplash grout near food prep or water sources is a prime candidate for sealing.

Old grout that has deteriorated should always be sealed to extend its life. Resealing existing grout can make it look new again. New grout does not need sealing right away but should be sealed within the first year.

Step-by-Step Guide to Sealing Backsplash Grout

Sealing grout is a relatively easy DIY project. Follow these steps for best results:

Gather Supplies

  • Grout sealer of your choice (silicone, epoxy, or acrylic)
  • Paintbrush or sealer applicator bottle
  • Small bucket and rags
  • Painter’s tape
  • Dust mask
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Grout haze remover (if needed)

Prep the Area

  • Clear counters and remove items from backsplash.
  • Tape off countertops or adjacent areas to avoid sealer dripping.
  • Vacuum and wipe down the backsplash with a damp rag to remove dirt.
  • Check for any residual grout haze and use remover if needed.
  • Allow area to fully dry before sealing.

Apply Grout Sealer

  • Cover surfaces below with a drop cloth and put on a dust mask.
  • Apply sealer according to product directions, using a paintbrush or applicator bottle.
  • Completely saturate the grout joints, keeping sealer off the tile surfaces.
  • Allow sealer 10-15 minutes to penetrate grout. Reapply to any dry-looking areas.
  • Wipe off all excess sealer from tile with a clean, dry rag.
  • A second coat of sealer is recommended for maximum protection.
  • Remove painter’s tape and any dust mask/drop cloths.

Cure Time

  • Most sealers require 24-48 hours of cure time before the backsplash can get wet.
  • Avoid using the sink or cleaning the area during this time.
  • The sealed grout will be water-resistant and protected after curing.

Sealing backsplash grout annually will maintain its stain-resistant properties. Reapply sooner if you notice discoloration or moisture damage in heavy use areas.

FAQs About Sealing Backsplash Grout

Should I seal new grout?

Sealing new grout is not mandatory but is recommended for optimal protection, especially in kitchens. Allow new grout to cure fully first before applying a sealer.

How long does grout sealer last?

Grout sealers can last 1-10 years depending on the formulation. Silicone and acrylics last 1-5 years. Epoxy sealers are the longest-lasting at 5-10 years.

How do I know if grout needs resealing?

Signs grout needs resealing include staining, moisture damage, growth of mold, or darkening of the grout lines. Using a water drop test can check if sealers are still effective.

Can any sealer be used on backsplash grout?

Silicone and epoxy sealers formulated for grout and masonry work best. Avoid sealers made for natural stone, as they may stain cement-based grout. Always check manufacturer guidelines.

How long should I wait to get backsplash wet after sealing?

Wait 24-48 hours after sealing before exposing grout to water. This allows the sealer to fully cure and achieve maximum effectiveness.

What’s the easiest way to apply grout sealer?

Using a plastic applicator bottle provides an easy, controlled way to apply sealer. Avoid ****ing or flooding the area with too much sealer. Use a paintbrush for precision application in corners.


Sealing backsplash grout provides important protection from moisture damage, stains, and mold growth. Annual sealing maintains the aesthetic look and lifespan of any grout installation, especially in kitchens and baths.

Silicone-based grout sealers offer the best combination of affordability, performance, and ease of use for DIY application. Following proper preparation and application steps will ensure the sealer protects the backsplash grout for years to come.

Sealing backsplash grout is an easy, inexpensive way to safeguard walls from deterioration and keep the space looking pristine. With proper sealing, backsplashes canbetter withstand the rigors of heavy usage in busy kitchens.